The Silent Revolution Beyond Regulation 1/2003

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Jerome Gstalter, Christophe Lemaire, Oct 31, 2008

Regulation 1/2003 entered into force in 2004 and has been described as a “Copernican revolution.” In fact, it has not only deeply changed the relations between national and EC laws but also the relations among Competition authorities. This regulation provides a decentralized enforcement of Articles 81 and 82 EC and sets up a European Competition Network (“ECN”). Its purpose is inter alia to prevent contradictory decisions among its members, to allow allocation of cases among competition authorities, and to provide new areas of cooperation, such as exchanges of information and assistance for investigations. Currently, the European Commission is about to assess the five years’ implementation of this Regulation. To this end, it launched a public consultation on July 24, 2008. It is expected that the answers to this consultation will show some problems in the functioning of the ECN and more generally in the implementation of Regulation 1/2003. However, we assume that this regulation did not raise critical problems and that the main challenges are located outside the scope of this regulation.